Payroll must be a challenge for small business owners who love challenges but are busy running their company. Payroll services and software help businesses understand the payroll process, giving them access to important forms, managing information, taking care of deductions, etc. That said, it is not always easy to find the right payroll service for a small business owner.

Therefore, we have reviewed some of the top payroll services for small business owners. so you can decide and choose which is right for you.

From online software to HR outsourcing companies and professional employer organizations (PEOs), each has its own strengths. But, we found that a few online payroll software companies work best overall for small businesses, so you will find them higher up our list.

While payroll services for small business often come with other additional features, such as HR management tools or regulation compliance, these can be pricier options and with steeper learning curves.

Fortunately, many popular payroll companies have a basic tier, which handles just payroll and not much else. In addition, there are other good bare-bone payroll services for small businesses as well, which we shall see in the later sections.

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What To Consider When Choosing The Best Payroll Services

There are a plethora of payroll services, and choosing the right one for your small business can be pretty much a difficult decision to take. But one thing is clear, even if you have just a handful of employees, it is a lot better to use a payroll solution than to try to do things yourself.

The price for messing up is much higher than the price of your payroll provider, so this is one situation where a small upfront investment can save you money and time down the line.

While every business is different, and you need to pick the right solution for your particular needs, there are a few factors to keep an eye out for when shopping for the best payroll service for your business.


The price for payroll services for a small business ranges from a $20 to $50 monthly base rate, plus an additional per-employee fee. For instance, you might purchase a payroll service for $39 a month, plus $6 per employee per month. Some companies offer free trials, which we recommend using to get a feel for the software or service. And the companies often have multiple plans or tiers depending on what services you need.

Companies which offer payroll services for small business also offer other HR solutions, such as onboarding help and accounting services. As you might expect, you will pay more for all-in-one solutions, so purchase these services as a bundle only if you plan on using everything.

 Tax Guarantee

For some entrepreneurs, the point of purchasing payroll services for small business is so you don’t have to pay any payroll tax fines or penalties. Accordingly, there are certain payroll services that come with a guarantee.

They give you surety that you will not face any fines, and if you do, the service will reimburse you. Don’t see a lack of a guarantee as a deal-breaker, though. It completely depends on how automated or manual the actual service is. If payroll uploading and submitting is all on you, then your taxes probably may not be guaranteed.

Industry Specifics

If you are in an industry with specific payroll demands, you will want to double-check that your favourite service can handle those extra steps. For instance, many restaurants need special payroll filings for tips, and if you hire independent contractors, then there are special forms that you have to file. If, however, the payroll service you selected cannot handle those specific requirements, then you should reconsider your choice.

Necessary Features

A basic question that you might want to ask yourself is what do you actually need from a payroll service? If you have just got one or two employees, then you might want to only pay for the basics, which include paying your employees, paying your payroll taxes and filing your tax forms.

On the other hand, if you have a number of employees or a fast-growing business, then some extra-human resource-focused add-ons, such as recruitment and onboarding support could be worth paying extra. Just know that the more you get, the more you pay.

So, when looking for your best payroll service, think about what you need now and in the immediate future.

Ease of Use

Whether you stop choosing a mobile application, a desktop application, or a full-service firm, your payroll service should be easy to figure out. You don’t want to spend as much time learning how to use your payroll service as you would have spent doing payroll yourself. So, read reviews online, check out screenshots and try a free trial if you can to make sure the payroll solution that you are considering makes sense to you and your business.

Customer Service

Other important questions that might be lurking in your mind when choosing the right payroll service are: Can you reach this service by phone, over email or through live chat support? Are their hours convenient for your business? Have you tried their customer service line a few times to test out whether they are helpful enough as per your needs and satisfaction?

Even with the help of best payroll services for small business, payroll is complicated. Therefore, it is always important to make sure that you have the right customer service options in case something goes wrong. So, without further adieu, let’s check out some of the popular payroll services for your small business.

Top Payroll Services For Small Businesses In 2019

Since there are hundreds of payroll services for small businesses, name recognition and reputation are particularly important. If a fellow small business owner has used a service with good results, then it is also worth looking into for your own company.

If you don’t want to spend too much time researching and comparing products, purchase one of these payroll solutions:


Affordable, with a strong range of features that can help with other areas of HR. Easy to use, with great support.

A popular all-in-one payroll, HR and benefits system. Gusto is a user-friendly, intuitive package that automates many of the boring, repetitive and error-prone tasks that HR and payroll management often come with.

From payroll to 401(k) and workers’ compensation, Gusto gives you everything in one. They probably integrate with the software you already use for accounting, time tracking, and benefits administration. You can try a free demo of Gusto for one month, and afterward, it is a flat rate of $39, plus $6 per employee per month. This is pretty good for a comprehensive payroll service for small business.




Market-leading payroll service at a price. It is worth it if you are already using ADPs other services or want an established name.

ADP, which stands for Automatic Data Processing, is one of the oldest and best-known names in payroll services. Over 600,000 businesses across the country depend on ADP Payroll to pay their workers. They offer payroll software to businesses of all sizes, whether you have got just a handful of employees or are a multinational corporation.

With ADP’s small business packages (designed for 1 to 49 employees), you receive payroll and tax filing software, time and attendance tracking, benefits planning, insurance services and more. While you might find the price tag a little large,  compared to some competitors on here, ADP is a powerful tool for any entrepreneur looking for a bit more organization in their lives. Small businesses can get two months free on sign up.

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Intuit quicbooks payroll

Slightly more expensive but with great tools and integration with Intuit Quickbooks, Intuit offers excellent software and extended payroll service.

Most people know Intuit as a provider of accounting software, but they also have payroll solutions for small businesses, Intuit QuickBooks Payroll. They are offering three different small business payroll plans, ranging from the payroll basics to white glove automated payroll and tax management and a host of combination packages with their popular accounting software, QuickBooks Online.

Depending upon the plan you choose, you can pay a flat rate of anywhere from $24 to $87 per month, plus $4 per employee per month. But try the free 30-day trial out first to make sure it is what you need. There is also a payroll option that links up with QuickBooks Desktop, for businesses that already use that as their accounting software.



Good for small businesses due to its scalability, affordability, and user-friendly interface.

Whether you are managing payroll on your desktop computer or mobile phone, Paycor lets you make direct deposits, edit employee information, make quick calculations and receive notifications as well. You can see your total payroll costs before the payroll is run, so you always know how much expenses your business has. Beyond the checks and direct deposit, pay cards and Paycor checks are also available methods to pay employees.

Patriot Software


Another budget-friendly option that does the job. Good features, but not as extensive as some other payroll services.

This small business-oriented payroll service has a great online experience, transparent monthly pricing, pre-printed checks for customers, free setup and support, and a free 30-day trial. Starting at just $14 per month, they are also one of the more affordable options on our list! Patriot Payroll’s focus is on simplicity and usability, so no need to waste time learning a complicated program just to manage a few employees (although they service businesses with up to 100).

Square Payroll

Square Payroll

If you are looking for a fast, easy, intuitive and tech-friendly solution to payroll processing, then it is hard to beat Square Payroll, which is available in all 50 states of the U.S. This is especially effective for retail businesses that already use Square point of sale and hire contractors or hourly employees. Your hourly employees can clock in and out from the Square app, wherever they are, and taxes are taken care of for you.

In all, Square Payroll will run you $29 per month, plus $5 per employee, which is less expensive than many competitors. The price is especially reasonable, given that Square Payroll integrates with a full suite of benefits providers so you and your employees can access health insurance, 401(k), and much more.



A great range of familiar features, but at a higher price. Good if you already are familiar with Paychex software.

Although Paychex includes payroll services for business, their small business product Paychex Flex is definitely worth considering. If you have less than 50 employees, it is a great solution for payroll and taxes, business insurance, 401(k)s and HR management. Paychex is a cloud-based, mobile-friendly service that comes with a high-quality support team that is available 24/7 to help you out with any complex questions or issues you may experience.

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With the highest customer retention in the industry, Sage offers a number of packages specially tailored to businesses of different sizes. For businesses having fewer than 10 employees, there’s the Essentials product with just the basic payroll features. But businesses having more than 10 employees can sign up for Sage Business Cloud Payroll for a complete, custom package.



For small businesses that are looking for HR and benefits along with payroll. However, there are other cheaper standalone payroll services available as an alternative.

Justworks is another big contender in the PEO space, recently raising $40 million to help companies streamline HR management. They are very clear about how they stack up against competitors and with Justworks, the details matter.

For instance, they offer benefits, just like plenty of other all-in-one HR solutions do. However, they go the extra mile and team up with Teledoc medical partners, biking companies and gyms, so your business can offer a full suite of benefits to your employees.

Fuse Workforce Management

Fuse Workforce Management rolls the payroll, time tracking, and HR management features you need into one simple product. It helps your employees access all their relevant statistics in a single place, and it makes things easy for you, too. The fuse Workforce Management is cloud-based and offers customizable payroll reports. They offer little details that are really helpful, such as red flag alerts if two or more employees scheduled paid time off on the same day.


A valuable set of HR solutions, including access to group benefits as well as payroll, but more expensive.

TriNet is a big name among PEOs. They combine together extensive payroll processing with benefits, compliance and more. So, you get an all-in-one package that fulfills all of your employees needs securely in the cloud. And offer different recommended solutions based on your industry, as well as your size and location.

If you want help with everything HR-related, then TriNet is a great reliable choice for your business. Like most PEOs, prices usually do not appear on the website. However, you have to manually call and answer a series of questions about your business in order to get a customized quote.


Owned by PayChex, SurePayroll is available for desktop or mobile, letting you adjust your small business’ payroll processing round the clock. They provide a guarantee on federal, state and local taxes so that you have peace of mind and you can easily contact their staff by email, live chat or phone.

SurePayroll is specifically oriented for small businesses by offering flexible payroll schedules, easy online reporting, a payroll tax guarantee and options for contract hire. You can easily run payroll and manage other functions from their comprehensive mobile app, which is convenient for small business owners on the go. It also has special options for paying childcare providers and home-based workers, if those apply to you.

Find Your Best Payroll Service

With a large number of payroll services and companies to choose from for your small business, it is now up to you how do you decide. Rely on the factors we mentioned above, such as budget, features, and industry, in order to make your pick worthwhile.

Also, many of the payroll services for small business offer free trials or free quotes, making it easy to compare their features and see which holds the best value for your specific needs. Feel free to try out the packages that sound like the right fit, see what systems you and your employees are most comfortable with and check the pricing to understand what you can afford.

Using one of the best payroll services for small business will free up your time and energy, so you can focus on what is more important for you, that is, growing your business.

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